November 26th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeJust for FunWarm & Fuzzy

"All About My Mom" (by my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter Michaela)

I don't know about you, but my brain goes a gazillion miles an hour while doing two particular things - showering and driving (by myself); this is of course as opposed to *normal* when it goes only a million miles an hour. ;-) It isn't often that I'm alone outside of working, so in these two situations, the ideas flow FAST - so much so that I'm thinking of picking up some of those bathtub crayons so I can write my ideas down on the shower wall. I already have the car scenario taken care of - a pad of paper that I scribble ideas down on at the 'next red light'.

The other day (in the shower) I was thinking about my youngest Michaela and the fact that she will soon be five (insert cliché phrase about how fast they grow up here). Then I remembered the interview that I did with my elder daughter Antonia when she was about the same age and made a mental note to sit down with Michaela (see, need the crayons!) and do the same.

I was originally inspired by Annie's post over at PhD in Parenting in which she invited us to "interview" our child about their mother and share the responses. Get ready for some "awww's" and some chuckles. Here we go...

Michaela

What are mothers for?

For hugging.

How are mothers made?

You put them underground and make them grow.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

First you go to the hospital and when you grow up a bit you'll be a kid and then you grow more and more and then you're a mommy (or daddy).

Why am I your mommy instead of another woman being your mommy?

Because I was in your tummy.

What kind of little girl was I?

A little kid.

What did I need to know about Daddy before I married him?

Because you got in love.

Why did I choose Daddy to marry?

Because he had a big fat beard and long hair.

Who's the boss at our house?

Daddy and you.

What's the difference between mommies and daddies?

One has different hair and one speaks different.

What do I do in my spare time?

You make us dinner.

What would it take to make me perfect?

Because you are so pretty and I like you and I love you so much.

If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?

Nothing.

It's nice to think that Michaela thinks I'm perfect the way I am - that makes one of us!

Having now done this exercise with both my girls, what stood out for me most was that Antonia's answers flowed quite easily whereas Michaela said, "I don't know" and "Is that right?" quite a few times - I honestly didn't think we would get through all the questions. This rings true to form for their little personalities - not to "label" them per se - however Antonia tends to be more academic and artistic while Michaela is more physical (generally). It is so interesting to witness their characters developing and watch them morph into little individuals!

I welcome you to join in the fun - ask your son or daughter the same list of questions and link back to this post.  You can put the url of your post in the comments.

March 24th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeJust for Fun

Have You Met My Two Beautiful Daughters Yet?

OK, so mabye I'm a *little* biased...

So, the other day my friend and colleague, Claire Reid of Claire Reid Photography, sent me this video - a vignette if you will - of all the family sessions we've had with her over the last few years.

I had to get out the Kleenex.

And so did my husband Mike.

Besides our family photo sessions, Claire also does all the photography for Snugabell and PumpEase. Headshots too. She is amazingly talented. When I tell her my vision for a shoot, she is always excited and always bubbling over with harmonious ideas to help bring my vision to life. And when we're in studio, the energy is palpable; we really just connect. (And if you were standing outside the door, you would hear lots of oohs and aaahs and excited giggles.) She is also exceedingly patient with my ahem... attention to detail.

When she is shooting us as a family - something we have done with Claire every year since Michaela, my youngest, was 18 months old or so - she can get the most amazing shots out of the girls. Even an hour into it when they are getting cranky/tired/bored/cold.

Claire is now offering these unique keepsake videos to her customers. These video journals offer a unique way to immortalize a special time in your life, capturing your style and story as only Claire can....

My only regret is that I hadn't met Claire yet when the girls were teeny tiny. :-(  I have pictures, but they are of the generic department store type quality. Not awful, but not great either.

If you're in the lower mainland of British Columbia, look Claire up. You won't regret it. She is blogging now too and doing a bang-up job!

If you're out of town, do you have a favourite photographer that you keep returning to, to capture for all posterity the growth of your family? Go dig out all those photos and look at how much they've grown. Remember the Kleenex. And please share below.

January 17th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Rebekah • GeneralHumourInside SnugabellJust for FunPumping

Guest Post: You Do What With What?! - Breastfeeding Through the Eyes of a Childless 26 Year Old

For those of you who don’t know me, I work with Wendy as her assistant/shipper/miscellaneous extraordinaire. We are coming up on our one year anniversary and when Wendy asked me to blog about my year learning about breastfeeding, breast pumps and the like I jumped at the opportunity.

don't forget to lower the toilet seat!

My husband and I were recently married last year and have decided not to have kids yet. So when I started working with Wendy I came in as green as the spring grass. Sure, I have breasts but I’ve never used them. I knew that mothers could breastfeed but I didn’t know some mothers had a harder time doing that than others. I figured breastfeeding was as natural to a woman as ask-telling her husband to please, please, please for the last time would you put the toilet seat down and save me from a midnight dunk in the bowl?

So I’ve decided to write about the things I have learned in the last year and share some of my most epiphany-rific moments with you. Here goes: 

1) Babies are alert when they are born and shimmy themselves up to the nipple and feed.

Wendy showed me a video of this happening. It was like seeing for the first time the pictures of the hippo and tortoise that are friends: I had some vague idea that in a perfect world it was possible for completely unrelated species to be kin but that it’s actually happening??? Mind = blown. 

2) When a woman breastfeeds/pumps, the other boob thinks it needs to express too!

Talk about a dilemma unless you have more than one mouth to feed (and I’m not talking about the dog). And then Wendy showed me the Milk-Saver by Milkies. All I can say is that this is one less thing to worry about when I start having babies. Thank goodness for inventive moms because if I was the first woman to breastfeed I would be up a milky creek without a paddle (or a Milk-Saver), y’all. 

3) Women can pump milk.

hamburgerHow did I not know this? Okay, I live a bit of a sheltered life when it comes to babies but this is kind of obvious; also that women who aren’t with child can pump milk. And give milk to other babies! Who need milk! Viva les women! Now, when breasts start producing burgers I will jump on that meal train.

4) Nestle makes chocolate bars AND baby formula.

I know the whole Baby Formula vs Breastfeeding thing is a bit of a big deal. I think when I have babies I will form a solid opinion (through actions) about how I feel on this topic. Until then, how I feel about Nestle making baby formula and chocolate bars is equal to how I feel about Dove and Axe Body Spray being own by the same company. In a word: suspect. 

5) PumpEase is probably one of the greatest inventions I can think of when it comes to boobs and babies.

When my mom got her eyes fixed (lasered) she couldn’t watch TV, read a book, go on the internet, be where light was nor any ordinary daily thing for DAYS. This is the closest thing I can relate to being stuck holding the breast pump on your breasts while waiting… and waiting… and then more waiting. If the pumping bra had not been invented I would not doubt that future-child-bearing-me would probably be duct taping those suckers right onto my chest. 

Thank you all for journeying with me through the last year. It has been a smorgasbord of enlightenment. I am so grateful that I’ve gotten to know Wendy and her fabulous PumpEase because it will help me when I decide to start having babies and it will hopefully keep me out of trouble (and duct tape).

Rebekah Joy Plett

September 22nd, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Health & WellnessJust for Fun

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and the Corset

Shortly after the launch of PumpEase Organic, I received the following email about our marketing image (shown below).  I figured if there was one person out there that felt this way and took the time to email me, that there may be others that had the same concerns and yet didn't say anything.  So I've decided to share both the emails and my interview with Melanie Talkington of Lace Embrace Atelier, an expert in corsetry and the owner of one of the largest antique corset collections in North America.  I met Melanie at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 1993 where we were both studying Fashion Design and Technology.

PumpEase Organic

The following is the email that I received, unedited...

Dear PumpEase folks

I just came across your advertisement for your pump. As a childbirth Educator, breastfeeding advocate and educator, and mother of four breastfed children, I find the picture extraordinarily harmful to breastfeeding women.

Postpartum women are sensitive the enormous changes that their bodies go through. As I am sure you can appreciate, growing a baby for nine months is a huge endeavor. After birth, the body must not only recover from birth, but make the slow and subtle changes back to its pre-pregnancy state.

This picture of a woman, who is presumably postpartum since she has the hands free pump attached to her, definitely does not have the body of a woman who has just given birth. The corset and size of the woman's waist are completely misleading( is she a size 3?) further promoting the media stereotype that resume their pre-pregnant bodies immediately after birth.

The picture also gives the false sense that the woman who is pumping would never have to support those flanges and bottles attached to the bra. The weight of those bottles and eventual milk will weigh down on her breasts and nipples and cause her discomfort and/or pain. For women with large sized breasts this would not be a possibility. She would need to support the weight of her breasts with her hands for comfort.

Not only does this picture not represent what the postpartum women is going to look like, but in all honesty, it's pretty cheesy. Your ad did get my attention, but I would not recomment your product in my classes.

Xxxx Xxxxxxx

And my response...

Good day Xxxx,

I apologize for the late reply - our assistant got married and went on her honeymoon for two weeks, and as a result we got quite behind.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and feedback on PumpEase Organic, especially since it's a product that is extremely helpful to breastfeeding moms whom you support.

The colleague who lent us the corset that you see in the image, who is a leading corsetiere in North America, works with many new moms to help them return to their pre-pregnancy figure.  She has had women come in as soon as one week after giving birth.  In Victorian times, postpartum women were wrapped in a soft cotton corset with ties down the front to help the new mother get her figure back.  Corsetry supports the back, slims the waist and improves the posture.

In fact, postpartum belly-binding/compression has been in practice therapeutically for thousands of years and is still evident today.  Women are routinely told, by both hospitals and birthing professionals such as yourself to purchase a “compression garment” and to wear it “as tight as you can stand it” immediately postpartum to help return the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size, decrease bloating caused by water retention and support the legs & back. There is information on Belly Bandit’s site about the safety of this practice including how it can support Caesarian Section incisions.  Therefore I’m not sure why you feel the need to fault moms for doing something to boost their own confidence, if that's their choice.  It's like criticizing a mom for covering up when she nurses in public; I say that whatever helps moms' confidence, goes.

We do not feel that we are giving the wrong message to new moms at all with this image. We feel we’re doing something positive for body image by not using a stick-thin model (as evidenced by our model Talysia’s upper arms and wider hips).  Talysia is, in fact, an average size 12, with a waist measurement of 29-½”, not a "size 3" as you stated in your email.  She is also a mother.  Having said that, women come in all shapes and sizes and their bodies react differently to pregnancy, even from one baby to another.

Further, we are not suggesting that women don a corset after birth any more than we are suggesting that women dress-up as a pin-up girl or as Holly Golightly as seen in our other marketing images.  In fact, moms LOVE our images, with most finding them very empowering.

I should also correct you in your statement:  "The picture also gives the false sense that the woman who is pumping would never have to support those flanges and bottles attached to the bra.  The weight of those bottles and eventual milk will weigh down on her breasts and nipples and cause her discomfort and/or pain.   For women with large sized breasts this would not be a possibility. She would need to support the weight of her breasts with her hands for comfort.”

I have many testimonials on my site attesting to the fact that PumpEase works wonderfully for larger breasted women AND supports full 6-8 ounce bottles. And again, I can attest to this personally as I pumped 10 oz of milk with no problems whatsoever.  I was a D when nursing and do NOT have “perky” boobs by any means.  I was also using the Petite version of our product (as this was during our prototype stage).  We now have a wider version of PumpEase which provides even more support.

We designed PumpEase solely to help moms extend their nursing relationship with their babies.  Our customers include moms pumping for their toddlers and preschoolers as well - not just newborn babies.  If you look around our site, I’m sure you’ll agree.

If you’re ever in Vancouver, you should visit Lace Embrace and try a corset on.  You will find that they are very comfortable, easy to wear and wonderful for your waistline and posture.  I know, as I’ve worn one myself on several occasions.

Thank you,

Wendy Armbruster Bell

After I received this email, I contacted Melanie to help me with my research.  We had previously discussed my interviewing her about maternity and nursing corsets both because I love the History of Costume (one of my favourite subjects in school) and because I find it very interesting to hear about the nursing apparel from other eras and thought some of you may too.

So without further adieu...

And if you'd like to learn more about historical costume you need to attend one of Ivan Sayers' lectures.  Ivan Sayers is a fashion historian who specializes in the study of women’s, men’s and children’s fashions from 1650 to the present.  Sayers has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of historic clothing in private hands in Canada.  He is the founder of the Original Costume Museum Society in Vancouver.

So what do you think about corsetry?  Corsetry while pregnant?  Corsetry while nursing?  Do you find this as fascinating as I do?  And what was your first reaction to our marketing image?  Did you think it was inappropriate?  Empowering?  Silly?  Leave your comments below - I'd love to hear all about it!  And if you're ever in Vancouver, be sure to visit Lace Embrace and try a corset on.  Remember my warning however - they are totally addictive!